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Hiring Slows in August, Adding to Pressure on Fed and Obama

The economy added 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday.

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Job growth slowed substantially in August, increasing the political pressure on the White House and strengthening the argument for new action by Federal Reserve policy makers to stimulate the economy when they meet next week.

The economy added a total of 96,000 jobs in August, down from a revised figure of 141,000 in July and well below the 125,000 level economists had been expecting.

The latest figures confirm suspicions that the economy has been treading water recently — over the last six months, monthly job growth has averaged 97,000, typically not enough to absorb new entrants into the labor force, let alone reduce the unemployment rate.

For August, the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent in July, but economists said that was a sign more unemployed workers were dropping out of the work force, rather than an indication that new jobs were being created.

Current and former members of the military at a job fair on Thursday in San Diego.

Republicans have made persistently high unemployment a centerpiece of their argument for denying President Obama a second term, and the new figures give the White House little to boast about.

“This is one of those reports that as you dig deeper, it looks less friendly,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The improvement in the rate was purely due to people who gave up looking for jobs.”

Indeed, he noted that the government report showed the overall labor force dropped by 368,000 workers in August.

“Politically, you can spin the drop in the rate as a positive, but it’s a sign of weakness,” Mr. Harris said. “The economy is slowing down and it wasn’t very robust to begin with.”

Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, last week delivered a forceful argument for more action, calling the current unemployment level a “grave concern.”

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee convenes on Wednesday and Thursday, and many economists and traders are looking for major news to come out of the meeting. Some expect the Fed to announce another round of asset purchases aimed at lowering borrowing costs and boosting investments. A more limited option would be for the Fed to extend its benchmark interest rate, set near zero, into 2015 from late 2014.

The rate of job creation has been erratic in 2012. After adding more than 200,000 jobs in both January and February, the economy slowed and by June the gain totaled an anemic 80,000. It bounced back in July, but few economists see big gains in the coming months.

Friday’s report showed that the private sector created a total of 103,000 jobs in August, while the number of government jobs fell by 7,000.

In order to make a significant dent in the unemployment rate, the economy would have to add at least 200,000 jobs a month, assuming modest growth in the labor force.

The manufacturing sector, a closely watched barometer for the broader economy, lost 15,000 jobs.

Sectors that did show growth in employment tended to be lower-paying ones, said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. About 40 percent of the new jobs came from four sectors: retail, leisure and hospitality, temporary help services, and home health care services.

“This is one of the reasons wages haven’t been growing,” he said. “People are taking jobs they didn’t take in the past, moving from sectors like construction into jobs at lower-paying, big-box retailers.”

There were other signs the economy remained stuck in low gear. Average hourly earnings ticked downward by 1 cent in August to $23.52 while the length of the typical private sector workweek remained flat at 34.4 hours. Both measures have barely budged from where they were six months ago.

Hiring Slows in August, Adding to Pressure on Fed and Obama

 

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Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

Housing gains may not register with voters, especially in swing states, ahead of the election.

At long last, the housing market is improving in Nevada, Florida and other important swing states that were some of the hardest hit during the downturn.

But that probably won’t win President Obama a lot of points at the election polls, according to some experts.

On the national front, home pricesand home sales are up, whileforeclosures are down. The swing states are also seeing some positive results.

In Nevada, there were just over 14,000 foreclosure filings in the second quarter, less than half the amount the year before, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure sales are on the decline after a state law last year cracked down on loan servicers’ practices, while short sales are on the rise. Short sales are better for neighborhoods because the homes are often maintained better and command higher prices.

Get a home in one of Money’s Best Places to Live for as much as $94,000 off.

The median price of a single family home in the Las Vegas area, by far the largest market in the state, has climbed 9% over the past year, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

And in Florida, foreclosures are creeping up again as banks recover from their paperwork fiasco, which forced them to greatly slow the number of delinquent homeowners they brought to court. But it’s still down by about a third from 2010 figures.

The typical single family home is selling for 7.8% more than it did a year ago, according to Florida Realtors. Median sales prices are the highest they’ve been since 2009.

Home prices are up thanks to a rebound in employment and in the stock market, said John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Realtors group. Investors, particularly from abroad, are once again realizing the Sunshine State is a good place to buy, he said.

In Ohio, prices rose 4.9%, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. Foreclosures, however, are on the upswing.

Related: Obama’s economy: A snapshot

But rising home prices don’t mean there aren’t any dark clouds hovering over the swing states. The good news about housing doesn’t seem to be trickling down to voters, who still view their states as being stuck in a real estate slump with little improvement.

“The housing market is starting to recover in most areas of the country, but most consumers don’t realize it,” said John Burns, head of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “The word hasn’t gotten out that home prices are appreciating again.”

One main concern that’s dampening homeowners’ enthusiasm is the number of homes that are underwater, or worth less than the mortgage. Nearly 31% of homeowners nationwide are in this predicament, a disproportionate number of them younger than 40, according to Zillow.

That problem is amplified in some of the swing states.

In the metro Las Vegas area, more than two-thirds of borrowers are underwater. More than half of Orlando borrowers owe more than their homes are worth, while in the Miami-Fort-Lauderdale market nearly 44% do. In Cleveland and Columbus, one-third are underwater.

Also, many would-be buyers are finding it tough to get approved for mortgages, while homeowners seeking to refinance to lower interest rates are also being stymied by bank bureaucracy.

“We’re significantly better off than we were two years ago, but there are still enough problems remaining for people to be concerned about their housing situation,” Tuccillo said.

Will it be enough to sway swing state voters?

For the most part, the presidential candidates are largely ignoring the housing market.

While Obama launched a series of efforts to try to fix housing since he first took office in 2009, they were mostly viewed as ineffective. Not many new ideas have been included in his 2012 campaign either.

His challenger, Mitt Romney, does not list any housing fixes in his economic proposal. And the Republican platform unveiled last week talks only of dismantling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and curtailing the Federal Housing Administration.

Ultimately, many voters will tie the recovery of the housing market to the recovery of the job market, Burns said. So they will pick the candidate they think can best boost the economy.

Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

Jobs Outlook Remains Tepid

By ECONOMIX EDITORS

This week’s economic data has come in broadly as expected, leaving the forecasters at Moody’s Analytics to continue to forecast that job growth will be slower in August — but still faster than it was in the spring. The latest post on Moody’s Dismal Scientist blog explains:

Labor market data over the past week confirm that August has been a sluggish month for job creation. We still look for a 145,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls, not far from July’s 163,000 gain and above the second quarter average of 73,000. The unemployment rate likely edged down to 8.2% this month from July’s 8.3%. While improving slowly, the U.S. job market is generating little wage income growth, which will be felt as rising gasoline and food prices test consumers’ resilience.

The Moody’s assessment, however, goes on to cite “reasons for concern that the August numbers could undershoot our forecast,” including a rise in the four-week moving average of continuing claims for unemployment benefits, aweakening index of consumer confidence and a region-by-region Fed report (known as the beige book) that was “not upbeat about the health of the job market.” It adds:

Each employment report is important, but this month’s will be especially so, as it comes as the Fed considers new round of quantitative easing. If the numbers are notably weaker than expected, the odds of near-term Fed action will rise.

Moody’s projections continue to indicate that the presidential election will remain close. As we’ve written previously, history suggests that average job gains between 100,000 and 175,000 in the six months before an election tend to lead to a close race.

Jobs Outlook Remains Tepid

Find A Job – Find The Job That’s Right For You

Where the jobs are

It’s still a tough job market, but these 25 counties can make it a lot easier to find work and a great place to live.

1. Loudoun County, VA

Loudoun County, VA

Towns include: Ashburn

Job growth (2000-2011): 83.6%

 

Got data? Loudoun County does. Lots of it. With its expansive fiber networks and a swarm of tech workers, it’s a major traffic hub on the East Coast.

Major employers include Verizon Business and AOL, but the latest boom to hit this pocket of Northern Virginia’s high-tech economy? Data centers, which now occupy 4.3 million square feet in the county, earning Loudoun the nickname “Data Center Alley.”

2. Fort Bend County, TX

Fort Bend County, TX

Towns include: Sugar LandMissouri City

Job growth (2000-2011): 78.1%

 

Fort Bend County has come a long way from its farming days. Now it’s better known for growing jobs than for growing crops.

A favorable tax structure, strong school system and easy access to Houston make the county a triple threat when it comes to attracting — and keeping businesses. Engineering firm Fluor Enterprises, a major employer, is buying new land for a facility that is expected to add 2,000 jobs when completed.

3. Williamson County, TX

Williamson County, TX

Towns include: Cedar Park,GeorgetownRound Rock

Job growth (2000-2011): 73.8%

 

Central Texas’ Williamson County hits the bull’s eye when it comes to offering incentives for big business. Corporate tax breaks and low property taxes have attracted the likes of top-flight companies such as Dell, which employs 13,000 at its headquarters in Round Rock.

The rapid development of nearby Austin has spurred the growth of so-called “super suburbs” like Williamson County’s Round Rock and Cedar Park, where affordable housing, cultural offerings and numerous parks and trails win points with young families.

4. Montgomery County, TX

Montgomery County, TX

Towns include: The Woodlands

Job growth (2000-2011): 63.5%

 

Business in Montgomery County is soaring. Anadarko Petroleum is constructing a massive new 31-story tower at its headquarters in the commercial hub of the East Texas Woodlands. When completed in 2014, the skyscraper will accommodate 1,700.

Companies here aren’t just building up, they’re building out. Exxon Mobil is constructing a 385-acre campus that will house employees currently working in Houston. The oil giant is expected to relocate an additional 2,000 jobs from out of state to the new complex.

5. Douglas County, CO

Douglas County, CO

Towns include: Highlands Ranch,Castle Rock

Job growth (2000-2011): 58.6%

 

Douglas County is on a Rocky Mountain High. The area is chalking up job gains, as companies choose to relocate and expand existing operations here.

With Denver to its north and Colorado Springs to the south, the county has the enviable position of being located between the state’s two biggest cities. Its natural beauty and abundant sunshine don’t hurt either.

6. Collin County, TX

Collin County, TX

Towns include: FriscoAllenPlano,McKinney

Job growth (2000-2011): 55.9%

 

Collin County is no longer just the country cousin of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. With an influx of young families — overall population is up 59% since 2000 — its vast pool of workers is helping the area develop its own business base.

A few area companies have been hit hard by the sluggish economy. Big employers J.C. Penney and HP both recently streamlined operations. But others are growing fast. Oil and gas firm Denbury Resources is expanding its corporate campus in Plano, which is expected to add hundreds of jobs.

7. Denton County, TX

Denton County, TX

Towns include: Flower Mound,LewisvilleDenton

Job growth (2000-2011): 53.4%

 

Manufacturing is Peerless in Denton County. Earlier this month, PMFG’s Peerless Mfg. Co. broke ground on an 80,000-square-foot facility that will employ more than 150 when fully operational.

In addition to manufacturing, retail is important to the local economy. The presence of the University of North Texas, a major research school, also helps drive the medical services sector.

8. Prince William County, VA

Prince William County, VA

Towns include: Dale City

Job growth (2000-2011): 48.6%

 

Prince William County takes the crown when it comes to offering enticing perks to businesses. Expedited permits for companies in “targeted” industries that promise high-paying jobs and capital investment is just one of the ways it rolls out the red carpet.

Also behind the job boom: proximity to the D.C. Beltway, a smart workforce and competitive tax rates. Some 770 new jobs were announced last year, a nearly 14% increase from the previous year.

9. Suffolk County, VA

Suffolk County, VA

Towns include: Suffolk

Job growth (2000-2011): 43.0%

 

It’s smooth sailing for job growth in Suffolk, thanks to the Navy’s recent decision to relocate four commands here. The move will add nearly 1,000 jobs — which is about the total number of new jobs added to the area in all of 2011.

The Navy found a solid berth. Suffolk is located close to the Port of Virginia, and like many of the places on our list, quality of life is a big selling point here. Schools, transportation and community are all strong in this city with historic charm.

10. Williamson County, TN

Williamson County, TN

Towns include: Franklin

Job growth (2000-2011): 40.3%

 

Williamson County likes to treat companies to a good dose of Southern hospitality. Businesses choosing it as a base can be eligible for “concierge permitting,” which assigns them a dedicated staff member from the local codes department who helps speed up zoning and permitting issues.

The charm offensive, combined with the county’s highly skilled workforce and easy access to downtown Nashville, is paying off. Corporate giants like Verizon Wireless, Nissan Americas and United Health Group have flocked to the region.

The latest major player to join the 6,000 corporations that have outfits here is Viacom, which launched a services center this year that is expected to create more than 100 new jobs.

11. Sarpy County, NE                         16. Cass County, ND                   

12. Wake County, NC                         17. Lafayette County, LA           

13. Faulkner County, AR                 18. Burleigh County, ND

14. Houston County, GA                  19. Leon County, FL                   

15. Bonneville County, ID                20. Johnson County, IA

21. Anchorage County, AK           22. Pennington County, SD

23. Minnehaha County, SD           24. Washington County, TN

25. Garfield County, OK

Where the jobs are

 

As jobs become available, the vacancies are most often at the bottom

In recent months, several local companies in a variety of sectors have turned to familiar faces to take on key executive roles. Defense giant Lockheed Martin announced in April that its chief operating officer, Christopher E. Kubasik, above, would replace retiring chief executive Robert J. Stevens.

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High-level executives looking to nab a new C-suite job in the Washington area may be hard-pressed to find a place to send their résumé.

Hiring specialists and others say that local companies are frequently filling top positions from within their own ranks instead of casting a wider net, a trend that began during the recession and has continued under the uncertainty of a sluggish recovery.

And after promoting from the inside, businesses are more likely to have job openings on the lower rungs of their corporate ladder, which can create a domino effect of opportunity for the many entry-level workers who have flocked to the region in recent years.

When it comes to executive jobs, “There are fewer of them, and [hiring] is not happening in the same way with the same frequency,” said Paul Villella, chief executive of Reston-based staffing firm HireStrategy.

In recent months, several local companies in a variety of sectors have turned to familiar faces to take on key executive roles. Defense giant Lockheed Martin announced in April that its chief operating officer, Christopher E. Kubasik, would replace retiring chief executive Robert J. Stevens. In December, J.W. Marriott Jr. announced that company veteran Arne M. Sorenson would take over as the hotel chain’s chief executive. In February, Rosetta Stone promoted Stephen M. Swad, its chief financial officer, to president and chief executive.

In some cases, firms are handling a departure at the top by spreading around that person’s duties among other senior leaders, allowing them to eliminate the position.

Other times, companies are absorbing these losses with more of a chain-reaction strategy.

“Everybody moves up a notch, but the new person comes in at the bottom,” said Lisa Sturtevant, a researcher at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.

This method of filling vacancies, Sturtevant said, helps explain a recent influx of entry-level workers to the area.

According to Sturtevant’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 32,000, or 13 percent, of the 250,000 workers who moved to the area from 2008 through 2010 were between 22 and 24 years old.

She said this age group “always should be a big share of movers, but this is bigger than the past.”

Seven percent of the population that lives here are 18 to 24, according to Sturtevant’s research.

As the job market crumbled elsewhere in the country, the Washington metropolitan area fared relatively well, largely because of its economy’s dependence on the fairly stable federal government.

That may be changing as the federal government looks to cut back. As other cities’ economies have picked up, so too has their ability to compete for young workers.

Still, at least some recent college graduates continue to see Washington as a place of opportunity.

Rachael Peli, a 2012 graduate of Anderson University in Indiana, said it was a key part of her decision to move to the District.

“It was mostly the jobs, to be honest,” Peli said.

She applied to jobs in Chicago, Indiana and on the West Coast, but ultimately she said she decided, “There are so many more opportunities in my field if I go to D.C.”

Shortly after arriving, she landed a position in the digital public affairs practice at Edelman.

Joe DeGioia, president of executive search firm JDG Associates, says the challenges facing executive-level job candidates may vary by sector. The constriction in high-level hiring in the recent past, he said, occurred largely among administrative or human resource jobs. However, marketing and sales executives are more in demand.

“Everybody needs more business,” DeGioia said, and these leaders would be on the front lines of generating it.

As jobs become available, the vacancies are most often at the bottom

 

Get a Job: The Craigslist Experiment

By Eric K. Auld

Get a Job: The Craigslist Experiment

Like so many other job-hunters, writer Eric K. Auld used Craigslist as a resource. Curious to know what he was up against and to gain a better understanding of the employment landscape, Eric posted a false job listing. In a day, he’d received more than 650 responses.

I am a 26-year-old with a Master’s degree in English. I am currently looking for a full-time job, preferably in a major city, since that’s where a vast multitude of jobs exist. Unfortunately, so do an even vaster multitude of job-seekers.

Why would I ever want a full-time job, you may ask? Because I am currently an Adjunct Lecturer in English, which means part-time employment, which means a limited amount of classes per semester, which means no steady work during summer or winter breaks, which means no health benefits and barely enough money to pay rent, utilities, car insurance, student loans, etc.

I know, I know: “Why expect a full-time job with a Humanities degree?” you ask. But that’s not the discussion I want to start today. I just want to focus on the masses for a moment.

We all know the story: for a long time now, the U.S. job market has been in the toilet. The national unemployment rate is now 8.1%, though it is ever-steadily creeping its way back up the drain, as unemployment was 9.1% just one year ago. Still, for many (especially for my post-collegiate generation), coming across full-time employment is like finding one specific needle in a stack of billions of other needles.

But you know this already.

I shouldn’t complain too much because I have a Master’s degree and employers are more likely to at least acknowledge my résumé because of this. (Well, I hope so.) But what of the Bachelor’s degree? The Associate’s? The High School Diploma? My guess: the lesser the degree, the less likely a possible employer will schedule an interview. But that’s just my guess, as I am not an HR representative of any sort.

There’s also the paradox of present life after higher education: massive student loan debts and few jobs available to actually pay them off. But that’s also not why I write today.

We’re familiar with the art of the job search: day after day, scanning the classifieds, Monster, Indeed, Craigslist, etc. for open positions; forever touching up résumés to appeal to specific job requirements; writing endless cover letters that never seem to sound quite right; applying to dozens, maybe hundreds of jobs per week; staring vacuously at the familiar monitor glow at 3 a.m.; drinking gallons of coffee/alcohol to endure the monotony of it all; going days, weeks, months, seasons without a single response; yelling violently at the cat and punching the wall in frustration; discovering ennui and permanently bathing in it.

After repeating the aforementioned process for a while, I began to wonder if all of my efforts were purely futile or if I was actually making any dents (no matter how minute). I grew thoughtful, curious, worrisome, and thoroughly impatient— all in that order. I also knew many others in my position who had suffered similar fates.

I had to find out more on where I stood in this uncertain job market. I thought that if I could figure at least a piece of that out, then maybe I could improve my job hunting techniques, and, maybe then— just maybe —an employer would actually call me back.

So I conducted an experiment: I invented a job and posted it to Craigslist.

Sure, the job didn’t exist, and you might protest, “But Eric, how cruel of you to lead all these people on!” Then I thought of the mountain range of jobs to which I had applied in the last few weeks, followed by the complete lack of correspondence from these potential employers, and then I didn’t feel so bad. I assumed that those who had applied to this non-existent position would most likely shake the experience off as just another stone in the quarry of disappointment. (If, gentle Reader, you are one of those unfortunate applicants, then I offer my sincere apologies.)

I thought of sites where I regularly search for jobs, and settled on Craigslist for this experiment, since positions are uploaded there more frequently than on any other site I usually visit. I thought of the major cities where I’ve been applying to jobs, and settled on New York, since… well, it’s New York; it’s the place to be.

I wanted to create a very basic ad: a full-time job with decent starting pay and health benefits included. I wanted to study a broad spectrum of job seekers, so I did not require any specific educational background or related experience for the position. The entirety of the ad was created using what I had seen in my own job searches: the most common job, the most common job duties, the most common pay, in the most advertised district on all of NYC’s Craigslist.

In the end, I produced this ad:

Administrative Assistant needed for busy Midtown office. Hours are Monday through Friday, nine to five. Job duties include: filing, copying, answering phones, sending e-mails, greeting clients, scheduling appointments. Previous experience in an office setting preferred, but will train the right candidate. This is a full-time position with health benefits. Please e-mail résumé if interested. Compensation: $12-$13 per hour.

Results

I created a fake e-mail address to receive all of the applications. Before I published the ad, I hypothesized that I would receive a lot of résumés, and I didn’t want applicants usurping my personal inbox, especially for a non-existent position.

“A lot of résumés” is an egregious understatement.

I published the ad at exactly 2:41 P.M. on Thursday. The first response came in at 2:45—just four minutes later. Ten minutes later, there were 10 responses. Twenty minutes later, there were 56. An hour later: 164. Six hours: 431.

At 2:41 P.M. on Friday—exactly 24 hours after I posted the ad—there were 653 responses in my brand new inbox. Not wanting to face any more after that, I promptly removed the ad from Craigslist.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to gain a full perspective of who my generalized workforce competition was.

As if 653 responses in one day wasn’t enough already to knock me down the proverbial flight of stairs, I decided to sift through each and every application and record some basic statistical data—just to see what I was up against. I collected general information in two basic areas: Experience and Educational Background.

I should note that out of these 653 responses, 27 either contained an inaccessible attachment or a copy-and-paste job gone awry, so we won’t even bother with those. This leaves us with 626 résumés. One week and several pots of Café Bustelo later, I had some fancy-shmancy graphs.

I attempted to figure out how an actual HR representative might narrow this ocean of applications down to a mere puddle, and I guessed that experience would play a hefty role in the process. In the ad, I originally wrote “experience in an office setting preferred,” but while sifting through, I decided to apply “true experience” to those who had held clerical/secretarial positions before—you know, in the spirit of an Administrative Assistantship.

What surprised me the most about the above results was the number of people who had true experience as Administrative Assistants—and not just baby years, either. I additionally counted how many of these 626 applicants had five or more years of true experience: 147 (23%). And, as you can see above, 62 applicants had 10 or more years of true experience. That’s 10 percent of all applicants – much higher than I originally anticipated. A few even had 20 or more years under their belts.

Overall, 76% of applicants had previous true experience and 24% did not.

To reiterate: I am not an HR person, so I don’t know how much education weighs against experience when choosing possible employees. However, I was curious as to how many people with higher education degrees applied to this entry-level position. After all, I have a Master’s degree and I apply to these types of jobs on a daily basis.

I was a bit relieved to discover that not many folks with Master’s degrees applied (only three percent)—though, as previously mentioned, I’m not sure how much education usually factors into this process. I counted anybody with a relevant clerical/office administration certificate with the Associate’s group, since those applicants still received a higher education of some sort. What shocked me the most was the number of applicants with Bachelor’s degrees (39%), all from a wide variety of disciplines. (Maybe some of the Bachelor’s group should just obtain graduate degrees? At least this will kill two more years of job searching—so long as you don’t mind another dash of debt.)

Overall, 66% of applicants held one or more degrees/certificates in higher education and 34% held only a High School Diploma or G.E.D.

Conclusions

Depressed and exhausted after discovering all of this information, I drew one general mantra from this experiment, one that I could repeat to myself whenever I apply to a new open position:

“No matter how much you want this job, there are 652 other people who want it, too.”

The problem with this is that mantras are usually meant to calm one down, not bring one to tears. Another problem with this is that it’s an exaggeration. For an entry-level position such as this imaginary one, yes, there are at least 652 other aspiring employees. However, for a more specialized position, such as Full-Time English Instructor or Editorial Assistant or Professional Lobsterman, I’m sure there are far fewer résumés submitted. But I’m tired, and that’s another experiment for another day.

For now, I’ve just compiled three primary conclusions that I can offer the job-seeking public, including myself:

1.) Employers won’t notice me by my résumé alone. This one I kind of knew already, but I need to actually follow through with my lesson. Am I really going to stand out in a tidal wave of 626 applications? Probably not. What I should do is figure out methods to grab the employer’s attention, whether it’s finding out if anyone I know works with the organization, seeking out a personal recommendation, or calling to double-check that the employer received my résumé (even though we all know how daunting actual phone calls can be). I need to find additional ways to let the employer know that I am the right man for the job. Anything to make the employer say, “Ah, yes, Mr. Auld,” and not, “Oh, right, Applicant #24601.”

2.) When job searching on Craigslist, apply to positions immediately. 49 percent of responses to this non-existent position were submitted in the first three hours alone – that’s 317 emails. I know that when I apply for jobs, I like to imagine my résumé near the top of the pile; this helps me sleep at night (in addition to scotch). Because of this experiment, I’ve decided to not bother submitting to Craigslist positions that are more than one day old. As for other sites, I’ll probably discard any postings that have been up for more than one week. “But Eric, why?” you ask. Because, gentle Reader: that’s just how I roll.

3.) Expect the application review process to take a while. I repeat: 626 résumés in one day. That’s all I have to say about that.

Get a Job: The Craigslist Experiment

Find A Job – Find The Job That’s Right For You

Education Is Key – Education Is A Key To Success

gregorylnewton – Welcome to Newt1956

Tanisha’s Tips: Should You Move Before You Get That J-O-B?

By Tanisha A. Sykes, Senior Editor of Personal Finance & Careers

This question comes straight from my Twitter account! I really appreciate all of the love and support from my Twitter followers, so this week, I decided to make a little love deposit to all of you! Now back to the question. The follower asks what would I suggest to someone who wants to move to another city? She’s applied for four jobs with no response.

The first thing I would suggest is to consider why you are moving? Does the new city offer better opportunities in your field of study? Is the pay higher? Is it a better quality of life for you and your family? If the answer is yes, then it’s a viable consideration. If your itchin’ to get out just because then applying for every job that seems remotely doable is never the way to go. And please Lawd, don’t tell me that you are moving to be with a man or some other silliness. I only bring that up because I’ve heard stories aplenty about smart, savvy, beautiful women of color chasing down a man with the promise that he would put a ring on it as soon as you step off the plane. Don’t fall for that, especially in this day and age where getting a well-paying, meaningful job in a different city has quickly become a commodity.

Tanisha's Tips: Should You Move Before You GetThat J-O-B?

Now, back to the matter at hand. If you’ve applied for four jobs and haven’t heard a peep of interest from the prospective employer, then why would you think this is a good idea? I don’t know your situation, but I do wonder if this is a well thought out plan or a flash in the pan. Before you can even think about moving, ask yourself the following:

1. Why I am moving?
2. Will this move yield better opportunities?
3. Is the company a better one than where I am currently?
4. Is there stability and room for growth within the company and industry?
5. Is the new city a place where I can really call home?

Once you answer those questions, start reaching out to new people in said city for contacts, resources and information. Ask not only about the job opportunities, but also about the cost of living, residential options and overall attitude of the people that live there. Build a good support team around you that includes family, friends, church friends, future colleagues, etc., because these are the people that will keep your strong during the transition. Without them, you could be setting yourself up to fail.

Sometimes we just want to get on that next train smoking, but if there are no realistic job prospects, then I say, stay put, rethink what you are doing and why you want to do it, then jump into action. It’s easy to fall in love with a cute condo, 3-story walk-up or 1-acre lot on a cul-de-sac, but it won’t make a damn bit of difference if you can’t pay the bill.

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Apple offers few a bite at employment

Apple employs just 47,000 people in the US, compared to General Motors’ 600,000 at its peak. Does that mean the knowledge-based economy is a jobless one?

By Patrick Collinson

Apple is the embodiment of the knowledge-based economy. It is America’s biggest stock-market quoted company, and with the advent of the iPad 3 will be adding to the 100m in tablet sales it has already chalked up. Yet it employs just 47,000 people – a tiny fraction of the workforce in its home state.

While California proudly hosts the paragons of the new economy – Google, Intel, eBay and Cisco – it suffers from 11.1% unemployment. Is a knowledge-based economy also a jobless one?

When General Motors was America’s biggest company it employed more than 600,000 people. Semi-skilled workers could earn decent wages, with pensions and healthcare benefits to boot. An eco-system of suppliers generated many more jobs and helped build the world’s most prosperous middle class.

Does Apple show that a hi-tech new economy enriches just a few and hollows out the rest? It’s not the only “designed in America, built in China” tech giant to employ few people on its home turf. Google has just 24,400, and eBay only 17,700.

Apple is mindful of accusations over jobs. Last week it issued a study claiming it has “created or supported” 514,000 jobs in the US. This includes 210,000 jobs connected to the creation of apps, plus 304,000 in such roles as making “planes and trucks that carry our products to our customers”. Some economists argue that taking credit for such jobs is stretching Apple’s halo towards the limit.

But other economists highlight how in areas of the US where tech dominates, it goes hand-in-hand with huge income disparities. San Jose, home to Silicon Valley, is the second worst city in the US for income inequality, according to a study by the Martin Prosperity Institute, with San Francisco not far behind. Hi-tech brings winner-takes-all wealth to a few, but creates little for the traditional middle class, says the report’s author Richard Florida.

“The job market has literally cleaved in two. On one side are high-paying, professional, knowledge and creative jobs that require considerable education and skill. But the number of lower-wage jobs in fields like personal care, retail sales and food service is expanding even faster.”

A more benign interpretation focuses on the boom-bust nature of IT in the US. Jobs in California soared during the dotcom bubble between 1997 and 2000, then peeled away.The financial crisis also hit Silicon Valley hard, as companies deferred major capital expenditure on new technology.

But economist Ross DeVol of independent thinktank The Milken Institute is more optimistic than others about a jobs recovery. He says jobs growth in California is running at 2%, compared to 1.2% in the rest of the US. “Hi-tech is still the unique engine of the US economy, and now we are in the midst of an upcycle,” he adds. “California has a unique innovation eco-system based around its universities such as Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, CalTech, USC and Irvine. Yes, it can be a high-cost state, and yes manufacturing jobs go offshore, but the engineers are resident here.”

He blames much of California’s job woes on the sub-prime mortgage industry “which was virtually headquartered in southern California”. When the bust came, the state suffered disproportionately from both the loss of construction and finance jobs.

Today the Bay area around San Francisco remains the beating heart of new business start-ups in the US tech sector. This small corner of one US state attracts, astonishingly, 46% of all the venture capital in the entire US, says DeVol. “If anything, venture capital has become more concentrated in California than before the recession,” he says.

The focus of many start-ups is social media, the third “mega trend” driving the hi-tech sector, according to Justin Kistner of consultancy WebTrends. The first wave was about connecting to the web, which saw the rise of AOL; the second was search, which gave birth to Google; the third is social media, with Facebook (number of employees “3,000+” according to the company’s website) moving swiftly to total dominance.

“Facebook probably has two to three years before it reaches its peak, and there is probably another five years before it is replaced by the next mega trend,” Kistner predicts. Meanwhile, he says, Google is destined to head the way of Microsoft – cash generative but no longer at the forefront of the internet.

At companies in the Bay area, Facebook and social media are the focus of almost every discussion. At salesforce.com, a company using Cloud computing to bring more efficient software and marketing tools for corporates, the talk is of its social media application, called Chatter, creating the next wave of sales.

But at Autodesk, virtually a granddaddy in the local tech sector at 30 years old, visitors are shown the extraordinary technological leap that might, just, eventually lead to the return of manufacturing jobs to the west. Autodesk specialises in design software, largely for architects, builders and engineers. Now it’s working to develop 3D printing. If that sounds innocuous, it’s not. 3D printing is not about pieces of paper that have a 3D look to them. It’s about printers that actually “print” in three dimensions. It means that a printer squirts resins and metals instead of ink to physically produce goods. Autodesk’s showroom features items from vases to seat springs made by the printer. It even displays an entire motorbike made of parts “printed” by a 3D printer.

The last generation has seen jobs flee east. Maybe the next will see products made much closer to home. The next manufacturing revolution might well be in your garage.

Apple offers few a bite at employment

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New orders, job growth fuel services expansion in Feb.

By Christopher S. Rugaber

Despite a drop in the supply managers’ employment index, other data that show service companies have stepped up hiring.

US service companies expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, helped by a rise in new orders and job growth.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of nonmanufacturing activity rose to 57.3, up from January’s 56.8 and the third straight increase. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Expansion in the service sector coincides with the lowest unemployment in three years, five straight months of solid to strong job growth, and rising consumer confidence.

The purchasing managers survey roughly 90 percent of US companies in all sectors outside of manufacturing. That includes retail, construction, financial services, health care, and hotels.

Fourteen of the 18 industries the survey tracks expanded in February. Real estate, rental and leasing, transportation and warehousing, construction, hotels and restaurants, and information technology firms were among those that reported growth.

Anthony Nieves, chairman of the ISM’s survey committee, said that most of the comments from the group’s members “reflect a growing level of optimism about business conditions and the overall economy.’’

Companies expressed concerns about inflation and rising gas prices, Nieves said. A measure of prices paid by service firms jumped to the highest level in 11 months.

Still, the overall reading for the sector was the best since February 2011.

“February seems to be off to a strong start for the economy,’’ John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics, said in a note to clients. “The pickup in order growth was particularly encouraging,’’ he added, because it indicates that growth will likely continue.

A separate report showed factory orders fell 1 percent in January, the biggest decline in 15 months. Businesses sharply reduced orders for machinery, equipment, and other so-called core capital goods, the Commerce Department said.

The decrease was largely expected after a tax cut expired at the end of last year. Even with the decline, orders have gradually been climbing back to near prerecession levels.

Demand for services should continue to rise, according to the ISM report. A measure of new orders reached its highest point in a year.

The group’s employment index declined from its highest reading in six years. Still, it stayed at a level that suggests many service companies are adding workers.

That confirms other data that show service companies have stepped up hiring. The government said last month that service firms added 176,000 jobs in January, the most in four months.

On Friday the government issues its February jobs report. Economists forecast 210,000 total net jobs were added last month, according to a survey by FactSet.

New orders, job growth fuel services expansion in Feb.

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